“When we found out my husband was deploying, I had a plan. My mom, who lived 15 minutes away, was going to help out. She was retired Navy, so she totally understood it. We have a 6 year old, a 4 year old, and the baby was one when they left for deployment. My mom died 6 months before they deployed, and two weeks after they left I found out I was pregnant.
“It was hard enough doing the holidays without my husband, but then to not have my mom either felt impossible. I got frustrated a lot and I was exhausted, and I’d keep thinking ‘if my mom was here, she’d give me a break right now.’ And then to not even be able to call her was so hard. I talked to my mother-in-law a lot, but she lives across the country.
“There were so many times I felt totally overwhelmed. Like when my 6 year old decided he was quitting school. I had a straight up teenager in a 6 year old’s body, and daddy is the authority in the house, so it was so hard without him there. I didn’t want to worry my husband so I wouldn’t tell him how hard it really was for me. If I was at a 10 stress level, I’d tell him it was a 5. But I told my husband, we were still connected even while he was at sea. It was like he knew which days were the hardest and the worst, and without me saying anything he’d find a way to call, sometimes just to say ‘I love you.’ And that was everything.”